Another battle of words is brewing between Malta and Italy on yet another group of migrants that has been rescued by a ship belonging to a non-governmental organisation.
Italian Home Minister Matteo Salvini, on Twitter, wrote that Italy will not be accepting the ship with the migrants which, according to him, is closer to Malta.
But, in a reply, Home Affairs Minister Michael Farrugia said that Lampedusa, which is Italian territory, is closer to the area where the SAR operation took place. The map shows that Lampedusa is 124.99 nautical miles away from the site, while Malta is 141.02 nautical miles away.
The ship Open Arms, Salvini wrote, which carried a Spanish flag and belongs to a Spanish NGO, rushed to save 50 migrants without waiting for the intervention of the Libyan coast guard.
He sais that this ship is in the Libyan search and rescue area with Malta as its closest port. “They should not even think of coming to Italy,” he said, adding that this “human trafficking mafia” has to stop.
“The fewer (number of people) leave (land), the fewer die,” he said.
In a tweet in reply, Farrugia also posted a map which shows that the Italian island of Lampedusa is closer to the site of the SAR rescue operation.
The rescue took place in Libyan SAR between Libya and Lampedusa, Farrugia said, urging Salvini to stop publishing wrong information and trying to put the spotlight on Malta when there was no reason to do so. The map shows it all, Farrugia said. “These are facts, no opinions,” he concluded.
On Thursday, the government announced that it had closed Malta’s ports to all NGO ships pending an investigation on the MV Lifeline, the migrant ship that brought in 234 migrants following a one-off accord Prime Minister Joseph Muscat brokered with eight other nations.
Malta and Italy had also been involved in a diplomatic spat earlier this month after another NGO vessel, the MV Aquarius, rescued 900 migrants who were later taken to Spain.
- Migrants ‘armed with iron bars threaten Thames cargo ship crew and demand to be taken British shore’
- Epic Games' third-person shooter 'Fortnite Battle Royale' is coming to Android in the next few months
- [Update: Finally live] YouTube app will soon dynamically adapt to different video sizes
- Spain Accepts Migrant Ship Denied by Italy
- With Salvini Gone, New M5S-Democrat Govt Invites Migrants to Land in Italy
- Left-Wing Italian Govt Allows NGO Ship with 88 Migrants Aboard to Dock
- People Smugglers Offering ‘First-Class’ Passage on Luxury Yachts at €10k Per Illegal Migrant
- WATCH: Holidaying Families Look on as Illegal Migrants Land on Spanish Beach
- Spain Brings 600 Mediterranean Migrants To Europe in 24 Hours in Busiest Day of 2017 So Far
- Baby born in Italy 15 weeks early to spend first Christmas at home in England